The Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer who shot an unarmed young black man in the back, killing him, has been ordered released from prison.

The former cop, whose actions triggered a racially charged upheaval in Northern California, had been sentenced in November to only two years.

The L.A. Times reports that the family of the victim, Oscar Grant III, plans to protest the release in both Oakland and Los Angeles, where the trial was held. — PZS

Los Angeles Times:

Superior Court Judge Robert J. Perry ruled Friday that Johannes Mehserle, who was sentenced last November to serve two years, should be released Monday because of credits for time served and good behavior.

A Los Angeles jury convicted Mehserle last July of involuntary manslaughter in the death of 22-year-old Oscar Grant III on the platform of the Fruitvale BART station on New Year’s Day 2009. The racially charged case sparked riots and protests in Oakland, followed by more unrest when Mehserle was not convicted of a more serious charge and was sentenced to just two years.

Grainy video footage of the shooting — captured by several witnesses — showed Mehserle, who is white, firing one round into the back of Grant, who was black. Alameda County prosecutors accused the officer of murder. Mehserle, 29, testified that he meant to use his Taser but mistakenly grabbed his pistol.

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